Rediscovered: The Lost Arkham Imprint


I forgot to mention that John D. Haefele wrapped up his three-part series on August Derleth and the Little Review. The third part is kind of the good one — the closer — since it deals with Derleth’s own little review, Hawk & Whippoorwill, and the short-lived poetry imprint that went with it.

For you Arkham House collectors out there, Haefele does a complete list of the various books printed for Derleth in England by Villiers, instead of the usual jobbing out to the George Banta Company. He digs in deep, and it appears that Derleth went with Villiers largely to keep costs down on H&W, though of course he ended up using them for several items released through Arkham House proper.

But for some reason Derleth didn’t include the H&W imprint in Thirty Years of Arkham House. Trust to Haefele to come up with a logical answer after mulling over all his sources — and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets some of his insight by casting the runes on the windswept hillside when the stars are right.

I suppose my favorite angle is musing over the poetry books that look like they were being prepped for H&W release, but instead appeared under the aegis of Arkham House, such as my pal Stanley McNail’s Something Breathing. Stan began as a regional Midwestern poet — Black Hawk Country — and seemed like a natural for the H&W set. Yet he made the cut for Arkham with his little book, and that toehold on literary immortality.

And you may be pleased to know that doing the occasional tidbit on Arkham and collecting hasn’t slowed down Haefele’s work on his monumental Lovecraft: The Great Tales. He’s been popping me chapters to look over for months now, with only one more to go. Then he’ll attack the mass of wordage overall — if I recall correctly, some chapters run over 50,000 words each.

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